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2013-12-27 at 11:16

Opening doors

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
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City council wants to spend more time out in the open.

With council having to meet almost weekly behind closed doors, city clerk John Hannam is looking to see if there are ways to improve that record and bring more reports to public sessions.

"So we can support public confidence and business being done in an open manner," Hannam said.

Council goes behind closed doors for property, personnel and legal matters.

While the last two aren't likely to be public, Hannam said there might be ways under the Municipal Act to make it so council won't have to go in camera on every property matter.

It might be as simple as having a confidential memo sent to council instead.

"A report of that nature might be able to go to open sessions," he said.

That wouldn't include things like property prices though as it might undermine the competitive bidding process when the city puts land up for sale Hannam said.

Mayor Keith Hobbs said he wants to see council meet behind closed doors less.

"We spend I think an inordinate amount of time in closed session however we have had a lot of legal issues," Hobbs said.

The flood of May 2012 and closing agreements on the hotel and condominium project on the waterfront were just a few reasons that this term of council have had regular closed sessions, Hobbs said.

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Comments

We've improved our comment system.
Ozone says:
Why change now! Hobbs and council have kept this towns citizens in the dark on so many matters.
Even if you have public open meetings that SHOULD be happening. Council does not listen to the citizenry anyways.
Just another council show. Guess an election is coming and they think people have poor memories. Vote this whole lot out next election Thunder Bay.
That would be positive change !
12/27/2013 11:45:50 AM
young&concerned says:
Like it matters...stupidity and cluelessness with doors open or closed!
12/27/2013 11:54:20 AM
S Duncan says:
If council stuck with the duties its supposed to be performing instead of sticking their noses into ones they do not, they wouldnt find the need to run and hide from the truth all the time.

If they were open and forward with the windfarm debacle we wouldnt have found ourselves neck deep in lawsuits. If they had openly and properly put out to tender things like the marina hotel we could have had the option of voting on the design and company running it and we wouldnt get the news years later and be told we have to like it or not.

If they performed their duties properly prior to and after the flood disaster there would be no reason to run and hide from public scrutiny.

and thats only a handful of examples. Theres so many more.

if they represent their constituents properly they would not have to hide everything from them. Where is the open ness that Hobbs promised us?

all we get is a bunch of councillors taking our money, hiding, then telling us how special they are. Sad.
12/27/2013 2:30:48 PM
Knauffer says:
Different identity, same crappy attitude. Don't you have anything better to do th?
At least don't brag about being in on the lawsuit under your other personality then complain about how it hurts our city in this one.
Be careful about accusing others of running and hiding from the truth when you miiiight be doing just that yourself.
12/27/2013 4:00:20 PM
smartguy83 says:
Why would they have to tender the condo project? When Municipal land is sold it is put up for a price and whoever is willing to pay that price gets it. The city does not own the condos...if they did then yes a tender would be required/make sense
12/28/2013 4:28:45 PM
fastball says:
Why do we have elections? We have elections to vote people into office to take this city forward. We elect these people to act responsibly and with the best interests of the city. So basically..we trust them to run the place.
So you're saying that the Council should turn over decisions on what design a marina hotel should have, or which company should run it to a vote?? What other issues should we all vote on? The general population hasn't got expertise on long-term city finances and projections for the future. None of us are experts in these fields - that's why we trust the city to hire consultants in these areas to study the data and make recommendations.
Luckily these elected officials have far more class and patience than I - because after listening to the drivel posted here, I'd have chucked the whole thing into your laps and suggested that you bunch of whining rocket scientists do the grunt work yourselves.
12/29/2013 11:56:23 AM
Eastender says:
Let me see, you believe that when you put an 'x' on the ballot, thats pretty much it.
The person that gets elected will act responsibly and in the best interest of this city, which is, us, the payers of taxes. They are not to be criticized, or ridiculed for their actions, regardless of their decisions? They can just spend freely, as they wish, since they are the experts, or at least consult with so called experts.
If you believe this to be true, then you probably believe in Santa Clause, the tooth fairy, Peter Pan, Easter Bunny, et. al.
When we hire, aldermen, a mayor, and rest of administration, we have a duty to put their feet to the fire, and scrutinize their actions. You are very naive to believe that politicians who handle public funds will act in the best interests of those who provide those funds, us the tax payers.
Trust a politician with your money? Like letting the fox look after the henhouse!
The general population is a lot wiser and in the know, than you think.
12/30/2013 5:16:24 PM
CM Punk says:
People need to get out and vote and get rid of the same old "old boys club" of council members who have been there since the beginning of time.

We need a more worthy opponent against Hobbs for the mayoral position as well. Even though the mayor is one vote, we still need a stead fast, level headed individual who will listen to the concerns of its citizens.

With open door meetings, its just another reality tv show like atmosphere. I wonder what the difference between this council and Snooki or the Kardashians will be?
12/27/2013 2:32:58 PM
fastball says:
Wasn't this the exact same reason Ms. Peterson got voted out as Mayor and replaced with Hobbs?
Oh, the fickle electorate!!
12/29/2013 12:34:37 AM
Jim Halpert says:
Hobbs promised greater transparency in municipal govt. and council meetings during his campaign back in 2010. Check out this TBNewswatch article from 3 years ago in which he raises it yet again, but has done nothing since to keep his promise:

12/27/2013 3:51:00 PM
progress now says:
This is the second time the clerk has been talking about citizen opportunities to become involved/informed.

Is there an election coming up?
12/27/2013 4:01:57 PM
Chaos says:
Speaking of waterfront hotel we were last told it will open in 2014. Don't we not deserve a further update seeing taxpayers have already invested it's share.
12/27/2013 7:25:46 PM
jasper says:
what makes everybody think electing a new, self serving group of liars is going to change anything. be it at a municipal, provincial or federal election. how do i know a politician is lying, his or her lips are moving. instead of everybody rushing out to vote, i encourage everyone to stay home on election days and show politicians how little we trust or care about them.
12/28/2013 10:53:08 AM
fastball says:
Maybe you should all start paying attention to the candidates and vote people in on their merits - and not merely because you don't like the incumbent and think this lot will be any better.
Or failing that - the professional bitchers, whiners and Monday-morning quarterbacks could get off their well-padded behinds and start walking the walk instead of constantly always talking the talk.
12/28/2013 5:11:11 PM
tsb says:
They should just discuss any and all confidential issues in public. Any legal ramifications that result in that degree of openness, including financial penalties and lawsuits, can simply be passed onto the taxpayer. It is clear that this is what the city wants.

My ideal city councillor would do everything they could to ensure all confidential issues are discussed publicly regardless of the possible fines taxpayers would be required to pay!!
12/28/2013 12:45:53 PM
fastball says:
Why should "confidential issues" be discussed in public? There are certain legal issues, personnel issues and financial information that simply do not get discussed in public. Every corporation and business - regardless if it's private or civic - has information that it does not make public. It's irresponsible to discuss these "confidential" issues in a public forum.
12/28/2013 7:41:14 PM
tsb says:
I'm sorry, I thought you wanted city council to be more open, honest, and transparent. In camera sessiosnss dhould be illegal imho.
12/29/2013 11:59:33 AM
Jigg Saww says:
open city hall? not gonna happen. they need to hide because when u turn the lights on they all have to scurry into their dark hiding places. these people are an embarrassment to Canada.
12/28/2013 11:19:17 PM
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